A couple of months ago, Hemantha, a resident of Banjara Hills, took her daughter, who is getting married soon, to a plastic surgeon. She wanted the doctor to reconstruct the hymen of her daughter, a badminton player.
“I got my daughter to undergo a hymenoplasty as I feared that she might face trouble in her marriage if her husband thought she was not a virgin,” Hemantha, a resident of Banjara Hills, said.
Dr Bhavani Prasad, a plastic surgeon at Sunshine Hospitals, said he now handles 50 cases a year, up from just two or three earlier. “In our society, many women feel that hymen reconstruction is a prerequisite to a good beginning of married life. They feel that no matter how modern their partner is, they are expected to be virgins,” he said.
The procedure involves creating a membrane about an inch into the vagina, using the flap of the vaginal lining. It heals fast and does not leave scars, though patients are advised not to engage in any exercise for a few weeks.
According to doctors, it’s not just women who have premarital sex who undergo this procedure. The hymen is a delicate membrane and rigorous physical exercise or dance can result in its tearing. It can also tear when a woman has sex for the first time, and traditionally, this is seen as a mark of virginity.
Though the procedure is a quick and simple one, doctors warn that it should only be done by experts. “Plastic surgeons are right people to do this. It is a sensitive procedure and only experienced surgeons should do it. Unfortunately, as the demand for this surgery increases, gynaecologists are doing it.
Even cosmetology clinics are offering it now,” said Dr Sudhakar Prasad, president of Plastic Surgeons Association for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. “It is better not to opt for this surgery unless it is absolutely necessary .” Only about 40 surgeons in the city are qualified to do this procedure, he said.
Doctors said vaginoplasty, or surgery to tighten the vaginal muscles after childbirth, is also in demand among women over 35. “My husband wanted me to undergo this procedure after he heard about it from his doctor,” said S Sucharita, a 40-year-old corporate employee.